Harness pendant

This find was unearthed very recently by Tom Burton. It falls into the generic category of shield-shaped horse-harness pendants and is most likely to date from the 14th century.

Though almost always described as horse-harness pendants some at least will have been worn by the retainers of important people and families. These things would act as a badge of authority and prove that the wearer was linked to a person or family of high standing. Detectorists have unearthed a very large number and this provides evidence that they were in widespread use.

Collectors are keenest of all on the pendants bearing a coat of arms. It is not unusual for these to be linked to people who were famous in the later medieval period. On the face of Tom’s find is what appears to be a stylized lion in faded green enamel; sadly, some of the enamel has been lost. If the background was ever enamelled then whatever colour it was has disappeared.

The suspension loop is intact but the body is bent. As already mentioned, part of the enamel on the heraldic creature has been lost and the rest of the surface is oxidised.

Valuation

Harness-pendants are one of the things that used to be very scarce but no longer are due to the high number unearthed by detectorists. Even I have managed to find a couple! In its present condition Colin’s example wouldn’t be worth any more than £15 – £20.

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